j68_challenges (j68_challenges) wrote,

Rights of Women Challenge - The Swedish Way, Generation 2


In 1905, the union between Sweden and Norway is discontinued. The agreement is made peacefully, but after years of political agitation in Norway, who wanted to be independent from the Swedish King.


Sigrid doesn’t know one thing about that, being only one year old. She is growing up in a loving home, filled with music. Her Grandfather Anders died, but her Grandmother Brita is still alive, helpingVendela out sometimes.


Clara is a big girl now, helping out with washing and cleaning the dishes.

Axel is also big. He tells his father he’s leaving the house now when he’s had his communion, to work as a farm hand with some relatives. He’s leaving early in the morning

This is Sigrid’s family in 1907. It’s her brother Oskar, 7, sitting to the left, then her sister Clara, 9. Her Father Anders,48, and expecting mother Vendela, 43, is on the right side of the table and her bigbig sister Matilda, 23, with her back towards the camera. Sigrid herself was 3.

 The King Oscar II just died and the news has reached even this remote area of the country.

The new King is called Gustaf V, 49, the last Swedish king with real political powers. He was known for playing tennis, being extra tall, driving his car off the road at a place in Stockholm, now called “Kungens Kurva” (The King’s Bend), and also recently (in modern times), for having a homosexual affair, which was kept as a state secret.

1909. Vendela gave birth to another daughter in 1908, named Maria. Unfortunately she didn’t make it through winter, and died at the age of 8 months. However, big things are happening – it has been decided by the Swedish King and Parlament that ALL men will have the right to vote, if they reached their 24th birthday. Before it has been said that there is a common right to vote for parlament – if you’re male, earning more than 800 crowns a year (only rich people do), and payed your taxes.

This means that Anders will be voting for the first time in his life. No wonder he looks astonished.

In Finland they have had the common right to vote for all citizens (including women) since 1906...

When Sigrid was four years old, she performed a complex piece of music on the accordion, and accepted money for playing. She was a bit ashamed about that in her old age, that she accepted money, but she was still proud she did the performance. There is no accordion in Sim-Jämtland, so the violin has to do as a stand-in.

Brita dies in action, so to say. I don’t know how it happened in real life, but I guess she lived until old age. The women of my family do.

In 1914, world war I starts. There is a lot of hunger in the country of Sweden, but the Engström family is doing fine. They live off what they have grown in their garden. Sigrid is now 10 years old.

It seems Vendela neglected her duties when she mourned for her mother. Anders is trying to cook for himself. He doesn’t succeed very well.

1918 - There weren’t many casualties in Sweden from World War I, since Sweden didn’t send troups anywhere. However, in the end of the war came a really harsh flu epidemia, called “the Spanish Disease”.

Vendela and Anders get informed from Axel’s employer that he unfortunately died from the disease. It seems like only yesterday Anders and Axel played chess together in the garden.

1921 – For the first time in modern history all citizens of Sweden are allowed to vote. If they was 23 during 1920. And if they completed their military training (for men). And if they were not bankrupt or living off welfare from the state. Or had a criminal or insane history.

Anders, Vendela and Matilda fulfill these requirements and are now off to the voting hall.

 “Imagine that!” Vendela says. At least in my story.

Sigrid is training to become a ladies hairdresser. That’s what she always said herself : “Damfrisörska” (Female hairdresser, working with women only).

We’re now in the late 20’s. Sigrid and her nearly-same-age siblings are growing up any minute.

Clara has just met her Gunnar. He will then emigrate to the United States of America. Two years later she’ll follow, without having met him in between, without knowing one word of English. The only answer she gave to the immigration was: “I’m here to get married”

Oskar will stay in the house with his soon-to-be wife Jenny, and they will have a son, Ingvar.

Oskar and Jenny get married. This was bad news for Sigrid, because...

Jenny is not nice to her.

At the best of times Jenny is just dismissive and condescending towards Sigrid.

But mostly she’s downright mean. The situation is getting out of hand.

Her father Anders and sister Matilda helps her with money to start a beauty salon in Västerås.
Why she chose Västerås I don’t know, it’s 600 km from Östersund. Probably there was some relatives living there, that a young unmarried woman could stay with when not supervised by her parents. 

Sigrid has met her future husband Uno (in the picture above). She’s not very interested in getting married though. She wants to continue working her business, which she’s quite successful in.

In other news - 1932 Sigrid’s sister Clara and her Gunnar gets married in a small ceremony in City Hall in Chicago, Illinois. Only a few friends of Gunnar’s are present. All of Clara’s family is back in Sweden.


Next time I will bring you generation 3, despite Sigrid's reluctance. How could I tell this story otherwise?



Tags: rights of women challenge

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